Dear Dr. Romance

I am writing to you for your professional opinion regarding my teenage son.  His behavior overall is good but when he gets angry he throws things swears a lot and just a few minutes ago destroyed my vacuum cleaner in one blow to the floor.

I am a single parent about 9 months out of the year and my son is for the most part a big help to me. I have one daughter also who is two years younger.

How can I help him see what he is doing and control his urge to break or throw something when he is upset. He does not do this every time, but it is very upsetting to me and his younger sister when it happens.

I am afraid to tell his father because he is so loud and I don't know for certain that he could contain himself once he started to discipline our son.

We live in a small town and our son is an athlete at one of the two high schools. I do not want to hurt his future with everyone knowing this problem, but at the same time I want to help him.

I feel alone in this problem as my parents are in the same town but are 80 years old. I don't want them to know the every little thing that goes wrong. My father has been a very big part of my sons life and filled in the fatherly gaps while my husband is away.

What can I do? Am I standing in the way? I have always been a good mom. I have disciplined with compassion, always been there to listen or lend a hand with homework, taken him to practice and games and most importantly made him feel loved. Please Help..Thank you..

Dear Reader:

It's so difficult to be both mother and father to your son, I know. I'm guessing, from what you said about his father being loud, that your son thinks it's "manly" to throw temper tantrums, which actually is childish, not manly. It's really important to nip this in the bud, before he learns from interacting with you that it's OK to be violent and angry with women. Although your son seems to be grown-up in other ways, emotionally he has some maturing to do. It's really imperative to get the help of someone, his coach, perhaps, or a teacher, a pastor, a school counselor or other role model who can teach him how to control his temper. If he doesn't learn to do that, he'll have trouble all thorough his life because of it.

You have to tell some people who can help, even if it is embarrassing. You and your son need an objective, knowledgeable party who has the authority to convince your son he needs to change; and not just for you, but for his own good. You can read some of the articles on my website, like "Mirrors and Teachers"  and "Year of Peace", Which might give you some tools to use.  It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

But please don't try to do this all by yourself. If your son won't go for counseling, go by yourself to get some tools you can use. The best of luck to you and your family.

It Ends With You

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.